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Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:35 AM

our deficit debate's 'sick secret' is killing us, literally

http://www.nationofchange.org/our-deficit-debate-s-sick-secret-killing-us-literally-1357314441


Imagine a nation with a terrible problem – one its leaders refuse to discuss. The problem will needlessly drain trillions of dollars from its economy in the next ten years.

Now imagine that this problem also robs that nation’s citizens of life itself, draining years from their lifespans while depriving them of large sums of money. Imagine that it sickens and disables countless others, drives many people into bankrupcty, and kills more than two newborn infants out of every thousand born.

Imagine that fixing this problem would make result in a dramatic decline in publicly-held debt. It wouldn’t just “help” the debt problem, mind you – it would cause that debt to plunge.

And now imagine a national “deficit debate” which completely ignores this problem.

21 replies, 1476 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply our deficit debate's 'sick secret' is killing us, literally (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
KG Jan 2013 #1
woo me with science Jan 2013 #21
zazen Jan 2013 #2
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #10
cantbeserious Jan 2013 #3
FarCenter Jan 2013 #4
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #5
FarCenter Jan 2013 #6
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #7
2naSalit Jan 2013 #8
xchrom Jan 2013 #9
Festivito Jan 2013 #11
librechik Jan 2013 #14
Festivito Jan 2013 #15
librechik Jan 2013 #16
Festivito Jan 2013 #20
xchrom Jan 2013 #12
xchrom Jan 2013 #13
dkf Jan 2013 #17
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #18
xchrom Jan 2013 #19

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:40 AM

1. there is no political will in the US, only theater.

the 'fiscal cliff' compromise is just the lastest example of kicking the can down the road, rather than making than doing hard work ans facing up to the big problems...

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Response to KG (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 08:16 AM

21. Yes, it's theater. DC has been purchased by the profiteers.

It is not only that there is no will to make the necessary changes to fix things; there is tremendous incentive to actively grow the predatory system.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:41 AM

2. can you get them to change "January 2012" to "2013"?

I don't have a subscription so can't comment. It's a good article on our healthcare system's madness, but the credibility is damaged and the reader derailed when the author says January 2012 in the intro rather than January 2013. I know reporters don't have a lot staff anymore and we all make errors like that, but if it's "journalism," then they shouldn't have such a confusing typo.

Thanks for the article, xchrom.

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Response to zazen (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:15 PM

10. A comment has been added...

...not by me:

scmike1965

January 04, 2013 12:00pm

Welcome to America January 2012
Editors beware it is now

2013.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:44 AM

3. Health Care Greed - Gun Greed - Big Business Greed - Etc, Etc, Etc

America is a declining empire.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 08:54 AM

4. High cost MRIs will soon be a thing of the past

The United States is second only to technology-crazed Japan in the prevalence of high-cost (and high profit) MRI and CT devices for medical imaging, both in hospitals and in free-standing facilities. Many American facilities were financed by physicians who send their patients there, which poses a significant conflict of interest and which both public and private insurers have been attempting to limit. Many others are owned by sales-driven chains. Unsurprisingly, studies suggest there is significant overuse of this equipment in the United States.


MRIs depend on superconducting magnets cooled by liquid helium.

The US Govt is finishing the sale of its Cold War helium supplies. When these run out, MRIs will either be very expensive or unavailable.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 09:04 AM

5. Depends whether warm superconductors can be developed to the necessary level

Research is ongoing in warm superconductivity, a liquid nitrogen temp superconductor would change the whole economics of a lot of high tech gear.

http://www.nature.com/news/tantalizing-hints-of-room-temperature-superconductivity-1.11443

18 September 2012

Simple graphite, if doped with distilled water, may be able to act as a superconductor at room temperature.

Researchers in Germany have claimed a breakthrough: a material that can act as a superconductor — transmit electricity with zero resistance — at room temperature and above. Superconductors offer huge potential energy savings, but until now have worked only at temperatures of lower than about -110 °C.

Now, Pablo Esquinazi and his colleagues at the University of Leipzig report that flakes of humble graphite soaked in water seem to continue superconducting at temperatures of greater than 100 °C1. Even Esquinazi admits that the claim “sounds like science fiction”, but the work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials, and other physicists contacted by Nature say that the results, although tentative, merit further scrutiny.

Graphite, which consists of layers of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal lattices, can superconduct when doped with elements that provide it with additional free electrons. Calcium graphite, for example, superconducts at up to 11.5 kelvin (about -260 °C)2, and theorists have predicted that temperatures of up to 60 kelvin could be reached if enough free electrons were available.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 09:26 AM

6. The existing materials that superconduct at liquid nitrogen temperatures are not being used today

I believe that they use niobium tin and liquid helium cooling.

Problems are that the material needs to stay superconducting in the presence of high current and high magnetic field and that it has to be strong and ductil to sustain the high mechanical forces without cracking and collapsing.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 09:31 AM

7. That's why I said "it depends"

I know superconductors aren't quite there yet but I think there's a good chance they will be developed sufficiently, there's certainly plenty of economic incentive to drive the effort.

Technology prediction is a tricky business of course.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 10:10 AM

8. It's why I

refer to this as the Medical Industrial Complex which learned it's tactics from the Military Industrial Complex. I do my best to avoid using any of its products or services. You can tell when you're getting shafted when the gatekeepers are more concerned about being paid or paying out a dime than whether or not the patient receives any care at all. Hippocratic oath has become hypocritic oath.... For those who need a significant amount of care, I feel for you.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:17 PM

9. Kick

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 02:00 PM

11. It's about health care. It's also a bunch of time-wasting drama, AND IT'S RIGHT.

Yes, we could go to a single payer system and save 1.5T$ per year, eradicating our debt in a decade.

But, it would put a million persons out of work in one fell swoop. That's a lot of people not eating.

We'd need cooperation. Get that from stupid ignorant Republicans and from the stupid greedy Republicans, and we'll get it done.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #11)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 07:13 PM

14. single payer would add thousands of jobs as free clinics opened up nationwide

with all the local/state/national staffing needs that implies.

The other main $ problem is caused by not negotiating with Big Pharma for prescription drug bulk buys at rock bottom rates. If we did that it would lower healthcare costs without firing a single person.

Those are only 2 of the many ways single payer would improve the employment picture as well as the economy. I'm sure there are many more.

Where do you get the idea that millions would be unemployed because of it? That just doesn't make sense to me.

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Response to librechik (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 12:17 AM

15. Not overnight. It will take years to retrain the 1.5T$ health care denial industry.

You can't just take a bunch of billing coders and switch them like a light switch to taking blood pressures, blood samples and reading labs results.

The coders fighting insurance companies, the insurance company code readers fighting hospitals, they're unneeded. With the 24/7 guards collecting insurance cards as you walk in, also unneeded, and the profit takers we have 2/3 of our health care dollars going to things we don't need.

$8200 per year which is 2.5T$ per year. Instead of, you know, SOCIALISM, single-payer, which costs:
$3000 per year which is 1.0T$ per year. Which means we spend the remainder:
$5000 per year which is 1.5T$ per year on card guards, billing armies and PROFITS for the rich which is the health care denial industry. A one-and-a-half trillion dollar industry. Two thirds of our health care spending.

1.5T$, that's a lot of people who will lose their jobs if we switch in a minute to single payer. A trillion dollars could be a million people making a million dollars a year. Yeah, that's a lot of people, more than a million.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 05:13 AM

16. yeah, I forgot about all the new training programs which also must be staffed

for clinic workers, the construction crews to build the clinics. Need for coders will shrink because better software systems will replace them, but actual caregivers would be needed by the thousands. Govermment administrators to run the new programs would be needed... And while we can't switch in a minute, (who said we would?) a simple line in the Medicare law "all citizens and legal residents are eligible" added would make it possible. Pay for it with savings from obsolete Pentagon programs or a new transaction tax on Wall Street. This can be done, because EVERY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH IS ALREADY BUSY DOING IT FOR MANY DECADES--and we are already doing it now with the VA and Medicare. It's just a political problem of redistribution of funds.

god, festivito--you are so wrong! It will take years, but it will save the economy! It must be done!

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Response to librechik (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 07:47 AM

20. Pardon me, would you mind checking your glasses.

You say I am so wrong!? And, you do that between a paragraph and a sentence that admits that you missed I was right?

I defy you to point to even one sentence from this thread where I was wrong.

The OP wants to reduce the debt. You switch that to saving the economy. I don't know why. Lopping 1.5T$ off our GDP will not make our economy look good, or be good. And, you admit it will take time to transition those jobs so it will not too quickly lop that 1.5T$.

In order to make that transition we need that cooperation I spoke of before.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 04:51 PM

12. Kick

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 06:36 PM

13. Last time - kick. Nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 05:43 AM

17. Thank you thank you thank you for posting.

 

Keeping Medicare as is is such a self defeating debate. We just go to the larger problem, a crazy health care system.

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Response to dkf (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 05:49 AM

18. I don't think there's much danger of Medicare staying like it is

The pressure to cut it is overwhelming in DC, it's really only a matter of time.

All that lovely money going to so many undeserving non-wealthy people is giving the 1% a sad.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 6, 2013, 07:19 AM

19. ...

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